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Data/Document Retention

By sjwilliams ·
The company that I work for is in the process of a dramatic upgrade of the IT infrastructure. In order to meet the requirements of some of our customers we need to retain some of our documentation for fifteen years or more in some cases. Until now we have just kept a hard copy of everything but the owners of the company are wantign to start scanning all of our paperwork for electronic storage.
I see some issues with this idea and I would like some feed back, maybe I am over analyzing...
1. The format in which to store the data. PDF, JPG, TIF, all are good canidates. But what kind of assurances are there that these formats will be viable in 15 or 20 years. Fifteen years ago I stored my documents in WordStar format, I think that if I had to read thos files today I might be at a loss.
2. The media to use. Any magnetic media will suffer from magnetic drift after a few years. Magnetic tape has a number of long term storage issues. CD/DVD's are supposed to be more reliable but I have had CD die on me after a couple of years(granted these were used on a regular basis and the quality of the CD probably wasn't the greatest)Size is also a limiting factor.
3. Finally, the device(s) used. I think back 20 years ago and just about everything was on 5.25 floppies. No, systems aren't even coming with 3.5's. IDE is starting to go by the wayside as well. This leads me to beleive that I will have to horde legacy technologies as they twighlight in order to maintain accessiblity to legacy data.
I will be contacting some of our customers to discuss how they deal with thier own requirements. Additionally, I will be contacting some of the storage specilists such as Iron Mountain for thier input as well. I am more interested in how the tech world deals with such problems so taht when discussing this with customers and potential vendors I can do so in an intelligent manner.
Thanks for your input in advance.

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